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romanov
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virus: What's wrong with the American Left?
« on: 2004-11-09 18:30:49 »
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Ok, one for discussion. Let's have your opinions, but keep it civil. Why is
the US seemingly more inherently right-wing than Europe? Why is the American
Left in the malaise it currently is? I have my own opinions, but I'll keep
them to myself until we get a decent debate going.

Your ten cents, please.




romanov

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Walter Watts
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Re: virus: What's wrong with the American Left?
« Reply #1 on: 2004-11-09 23:13:50 »
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I think part of it is demographics. The "baby-boom", pig-in-a-python
like bulge that were born between 1946 and 1964 constitute a large
proportion of our population currently. They carry their unquestioned
old "faith of their fathers" with them and they are not going to "go
gentle into that good night" and convert to our rational world-view any
time soon.

Just an idea 


Walter



mark daniel robinson wrote:

>
> Ok, one for discussion. Let's have your opinions, but keep it civil.
> Why is the US seemingly more inherently right-wing than Europe? Why is
> the American Left in the malaise it currently is? I have my own
> opinions, but I'll keep them to myself until we get a decent debate
> going.
>
> Your ten cents, please.
>
>
>
>
> romanov
>
> _________________________________________________________________
> It's fast, it's easy and it's free. Get MSN Messenger today!
> http://www.msn.co.uk/messenger
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> <http://www.lucifer.com/cgi-bin/virus-l>
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RE: virus: What's wrong with the American Left?
« Reply #2 on: 2004-11-10 05:53:39 »
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Very complicated, but a great book is this one:

http://tinyurl.com/4mka2

Regards

Jonathan

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-virus@lucifer.com [mailto:owner-virus@lucifer.com] On Behalf Of
mark daniel robinson
Sent: 09 November 2004 23:31
To: virus@lucifer.com
Subject: virus: What's wrong with the American Left?


Ok, one for discussion. Let's have your opinions, but keep it civil. Why is
the US seemingly more inherently right-wing than Europe? Why is the American
Left in the malaise it currently is? I have my own opinions, but I'll keep
them to myself until we get a decent debate going.

Your ten cents, please.




romanov

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It's fast, it's easy and it's free. Get MSN Messenger today!
http://www.msn.co.uk/messenger

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<http://www.lucifer.com/cgi-bin/virus-l>

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Joe Dees
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Re:virus: What's wrong with the American Left?
« Reply #3 on: 2004-11-11 01:40:31 »
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Magnanimous Defeat
John Perry Barlow
http://barlow.typepad.com/barlowfriendz/2004/11/magnanimous_def.html

Boy, does this suck. Even with a couple of days of perspective, it still sucks. And it may suck for 4 more years.It may suck until sometime in late 2012, when the Mayans seem to think time and space will collapse and everything will suck everything into everything else. And that will really suck. But, for now, life goes on.

I feel as if half the people in America have just forced a fat crow down my gullet. I am compelled to admit that I am genuinely out of touch with half my country.

I feel like I'm suffering the death of a loved one. I'm not sure which of the stages of grief I've reached at this point, but I'm pretty well past denial. I'm mourning a number of losses, one of which is the belief that "my side" is actually a clear majority that would reveal itself if we ever shuffled off our disdain for politics and voted in any force. ( Actually, we may be a majority - I don't trust these results - but even if we are, our margin is very slender and we were too dumb, diffident and disorganized to prevent the other side from successfully gaming the system. I would be angry about that if it would do any good, but I see where anger has gotten us so far.)

I worked last night on processing all that wrath. To accelerate the process, I watched several conspiracy videos. I pondered over the plane the wreckage of which isn't visible in the pictures of the whacked wing of the Pentagon, I wondered how the New York Fire Department could have "pulled" 7 World Trade Center without having spent weeks preparing it for demolition, why no jets were scrambled to take out the hijacked planes, how the Patriot Act appeared so suddenly after the World Trade Massacre, etc. But believing that 9/11 was a vast, right-wing conspiracy is as pointless at this stage as believing in the likelier possibility that the exit polls were actually as accurate in Ohio in Florida as they were everywhere else. Maybe it will all come out someday, but there's precious little we can do about it now. Who are we going to complain to? The authorities?

i even rented Fahrenheit 911, which I had never seen before, and was halfway through that when a young man who lives where I'm staying in Playa del Rey came home. Dale is a very solid guy from the Midwest. He's decent, enthusiastic, friendly, and resourceful. His girlfriend is an FBI agent. He's as American as it gets. (Though I've often thought the same of my own weird self.) He didn't want to talk politics. He's too polite, but I dragged him into a conversation anyway. Even though he had not discussed it with the other two people who live here, I had a feeling he was a Bush supporter. Which, in fact, he turned out to be.

It became obvious right away that we were not in substantial disagreement over many policies. Dale was hoping that Bush in his second term would push for reduced dependence on oil and would come around on the environment. He wasn't crazy about the war. Our differences were over culture and style. Dale doesn't like Europe, though he's never been there. He's met Europeans and he resents their supercilious attitude towards us. He figures it for jealousy.

"America," he said, "is like the captain of the football team, the most popular kid in school." He was describing his recent self, I expect. "The Europeans are like the chess club and they resent this guy cause he's the one who gets all the girls, even though he's not an intellectual like they are." I eyed him carefully, while secretly inspecting myself for similar resentments. It was lucky for both of us that he doesn't actually get all the girls. "Really," he said, "it's about character. It's about morality."

"Wait," I said, "What about the morality of killing a hundred thousand Iraqis for no good reason?"

"Saddam was killing them too." I doubted that even Saddam has ever killed as many Iraqis in a year and a half as we've just polished off, but I let that pass. "Besides, when Bush attacked, he thought he had a good reason. I can't believe he didn't think America was in danger." I could, but I let that pass too.

This young man had been trained to respect authority just as surely as I had learned to suspect it. Whatever our agreements, we would always be separate in that regard. It was something that had grown into him in his lower middle class Christian home in central Illinois, along with a good pitching arm, in the same way that Bohemianism had taken root in me during the 60's. Morality and character are words that have subtly different meanings to each of us. And a lot of the divide has to do with the degree to which we are willing to admit the feminine into our natures. I think he suspects I'm a little too sensitive. It's less about character and morality than it is about masculinity. We have different notions about what it is to be a man, and they are important to us.

But they don't necessarily make a bad fella out of either one of us. We both represent aspects of the American psyche that need each other, the jock and the intellectual, the Boy Scout and the renegade, the guardian and the wild card. We both love this great and terrible country, even as we fear one another's excessive influence on it, and part of what we love is the creative fever that arises from our division. As we need each other, however unwillingly, so America needs us both.

Perhaps it's just the bargaining phase of grief, but I can see that one of the things I must do to feel less a stranger in my own land is to have more conversations like the one I had with Dale. Indeed, as I've said repeatedly before, we must do our collective best to shatter the fetters of intolerance and live more in the necessary amnesty of interdependence. We need to quit scaring each other. Both sides are convinced that the other is trying to impose his culture on us, whether by law or by Internet. Fear of the Other, whether Bush or bin Laden, whether terror without or terror within, has been murdering reason and civility in America. We need to look one another in the eyes and see the human being behind the enemy. If we're not going to start shooting each other over the next 4 years, we will need to do that a lot.

At the very least, I need to take the other side seriously. Dismissing them as a bunch of homophobic, racist, Bible-waving, know-nothing troglodytes, however true that may be of a few, only authorizes them to return the favor. I don't want somebody calling me a dope-smoking, fag-loving, one-worlder weirdo, however true that might be. We are all masks that God wears, whatever God that is. We might try to treat one another with according reverence. At least we might try to listen as though the other side might have a point.I truly think we all owe one another an apology.

Still, despite a pandemic of pus-mouthed invective, the good news remains that there's been no shooting so far. Given the ferocity of our divisions, I feared violence would erupt during these elections. America has been acting like such an amateur at democracy that had once I feared we might go all the way to martial law. You will recall that, some months ago, I expressed the uneasy feeling that there would be another terrorist show-stopper right before the elections and they might be postponed indefinitely. Such fears seem absurdly hyperbolic to me now. While it is true that the country has divided itself roughly along the same regional lines that preceded the Civil War, see map, I don't really think were about to have another one.

Furthermore, despite the Patriot Act and many other insults to real freedom - as opposed to the rhetorical kind - I remain at liberty to be be as weird as I want as long as I don't scare the horses or smoke my drug of choice in public. In my cohort, there have been a lot of invidious comparisons between Bush and Hitler. I've even made some myself. While there is something marvelously invigorating about that kind of hyperbole, but it's simply not true. I don't expect any official visits at night (though I'm not a Muslim), nor do I believe there are secret camps being built. While I think that attacking Iraq was both immoral and impractical, it's hardly comparable to setting off World War II. Iraq may rhyme with Viet Nam, but Poland it isn't. It will be hard, but I resolve not to invoke historical admonitions unless they actually fit.

I've spent much of the last couple of days trying to remember more comforting historical analogies. I have a long history of pre-announcing The End of the World As We Know It. Clear back when I was a budding young libertarian, I believed that Barry Goldwater's crushing defeat by Lyndon Johnson was the end of conservatism in America. Boy, was I ever wrong about that. It took them a few years, but they came back with a vengeance of which the most recent election was, I pray, the high-water mark.

When Ronald Reagan was re-elected, I thought that really might be the end of the world. Literally. After all, Reagan was waving around MX missiles like they were cap pistols, talking about winning a nuclear war, and giving all appearance of believing that some combination of science, money, and hokum could shield us from Armageddon. The Russians were scared spitless and so was I. In the end, it was the Cold War that ended, not the world.

I was deeply spooked by Nixon's re-election, but look what happened to him. And, like Nixon, the president and his men may now have enough rope to hang themselves with. They have made such a spectacular mess in the last four years that Gawd Almighty would have a hard time cleaning it up. I suspect that 4 years of Kerry's dithering in the ruins would have had me voting Republican again when it was all over.

Sure, it's likely to be awful. In four years, the Supreme Court will probably be packed with Christian Ayatollahs, the dollar will make the Argentine peso look like hard currency, coat-hanger abortions will be all the rage, the urban campaigns against the Islamic Alliance will be going very badly, Osama bin Laden will be taunting us from his blog, only the castle-building business will really be booming, and gasoline will be 10 bucks a gallon (which will still be fine with the super-rich.) By then, even the administration will notice the seawater lapping at the front steps of the White House (though they will still maintain that global warming is cyclic and not connected to greenhouse gasses), the only old growth left will be in National Parks, and the National Parks will be for sale. Trench-coated officials will be making nocturnal visits and this paragraph will be against the law. Our school children will be celebrating the 6004th birthday of the Planet Earth and grateful that Jesus spoke English.

By then, people will either be regime-changingly sick of this band of radicals or the Bush administration will have actually turned itself around and done a decent job of governing. As an American, I'm hoping for the latter. Because, as much fun as it was to write the last paragraph, I would rather it looked even more hyperbolic in 2008 than it does now.

I have a terrible admission to make. I've been so fanatically opposed to this administration that I have taken dark satisfaction in their failures, even though they were American failures as well. I welcomed growing indications that the situation in Iraq was deteriorating into a sump-hole of back-alley insurgency. Good economic news was bad economic news as far as I was concerned, and vice versa. I was tickled to death with Al Qaqaa and its terrorist-purloined WMDs, and not just because the name was so great. Surely all these bad tidings would eventually add up to an indictment that would convict Bush in the eyes of the American people and they would rouse themselves from Fox-hypnosis and 'possum sleep and vote for change.

But it didn't turn out that way. While I still believe that half of America is hallucinating on hot religion and bad TV, I can't say I have been any too sane, having been delivered into a condition where I took comfort in the successes of our enemies and frowned at news of economic recovery. Despite my own financial anxieties, and those of all around me, I have been so zealous that my own well-being was secondary in importance to the political damage bad times might do the Bush administration. Now that's hallucination. And I'm sorry.

Having gone so nuts, I can work on being sane. This is not to say that you're going to find me whispering George Bush's name adoringly, in the eventual fashion of Winston Smith. But from this point on, I will wish him better in many of his challenges. Since we're in Iraq and don't know how leave, I will hope, against my expectations, that our efforts there will result in a functional pluralistic government we can do business with. Hell, I hope for a functional pluralistic government here and pray as well that a kinder, gentler Bush will remember his promises about compassionate conservatism and act on them. I hope that the swan dive he's taking with the deficit flares out and begins to ascend gracefully. I wish him, and us, the best. May all our Gods forgive us and may we forgive one another.

This is not so say that I will not go on believing, as I have for many years, that war involving civilians is barbaric unless the survival of one's nation is at stake. I will still believe that truly free societies maintain mechanisms to promote the even distribution of wealth. I will go on believing that liberty is worth living for and not to be sacrificed so readily to fear. I will go on believing that my daughters should not be forced to bear children they are not prepared to raise properly and I will not forget that people make mistakes.

For the next four years, I will try to stick by my country and trust that the inherent goodness and wisdom of its people will not go on being anesthetized, even by neuro-linguistic programming that makes Newspeak look like a good start. I will work to see that the next elections are done with equipment and methods we can trust. I will start now to look for opposition leaders I can believe in, people who display a courage in their convictions that will match the genuinely impressive dedication that the president has to his.

This will be a tricky four years. In addition to a sense of humor, which should have plenty of dark meat to feast on, we will need cunning, courage, clarity, and, as I say, forgiveness. We will need understanding, perspective, and something that also seems in ready supply at the moment, humility. And, since victory is to the patient, we will need patience. But I've been engaged in this stand-off between the 50's and 60's all my adult life. Finally, I see how much we need each other. I hope we all come to see that and give one another a break.

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Re:virus: What's wrong with the American Left?
« Reply #4 on: 2004-11-11 01:42:10 »
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Letter To John Perry Barlow From A Pot-Smoking Deadhead Bush Voter
Dean Esmay
http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1099986939.shtml

John Perry Barlow, author of one of my favorite documents on the Internet ("A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace") and perhaps my favorite Grateful Dead song ("Cassidy,") recently penned a lengthy piece entitled "Magnanimous Defeat." I found myself, as a Bush supporter, alternately bemused by the stereotypes that Mr. Barlow seems to embody and embrace, and yet moved by his effort to overcome at least some of them. A passionate Bush hater, Barlow seems to want to try now to understand his Bush-supporting fellow Americans better. He seems quite sincere, and I'm moved by that.

I don't know that he'll read this, but since he seems sincere, and there may be others like him who are sincere, I'll try to explain what the cultural divide has looked like from my end these last couple of years.

For the last two and a half years I have been writing this weblog. Through no intention of my own I eventually became what some call a "warblogger," although it's never a label I've embraced all that strongly. Is this because I'm a Republican? No more than Mr. Barlow. I'll vote Republican when it suits my purposes and I'll vote for a Democrat when it suits my purposes and if I don't like any candidate I won't vote at all. The Democratic Party here in Michigan a couple of years ago did a damnfool thing and locked voters out of its candidate selection process, but if they didn't have such idiot rules I'd have no hesitation about registering Democratic.

Am I a conservative, a "right winger?" Sure, I guess so, if you count someone who's pro-choice on abortion, is flabbergasted at the selfishness and mean-spiritedness of anyone who would put someone in jail for smoking pot, favors gay marriage, supports human rights organizations, and would love to see a world united in democratic governments a "conservative right-winger."

I think what bemused me most when reading your missive, Mr. Barlow, was your description of the young man who was probably popular and on the football team and supported Bush, while you the nerdy outsider supported Kerry, and you saw the whole thing through some sort of 50s-vs.-60s lens. Nothing could show me just how insular so many on the left have become than that. Few of the war supporters I know fit such stereotypes at all. "Think for yourself, question authority" is something a lot of us sucked in with our mothers' milk--and by the way, you know we kids who were born in the 1960s are now in our 30s and 40s and parents ourselves, right? A lot of us grew up being told to question authority, and a lot of that authority we now question is the left-wing orthodoxy of your generation, an orthodoxy many of us bought into as it was taught to us in school, in the books we read, and especially in the universities, not to mention in a lot of what we see out of Hollywood today.

We came to reject a lot of that orthodoxy as we got older and learned to think better for ourselves--not because we "embraced the establishment," but because we were questioning the establishment. You may laugh, but a whole lot of what's "questioning the establishment" to you seems like the establishment itself to a hell of a lot of people like me. Culturally, at least.

That being the case, there are are some things I don't see how we can ever agree on. For example, you seem to unquestioningly accept the left-wing orthodoxy that the war in Iraq has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Where you get such an idea I don't know, but from where I sit, having talked to both Iraqis and to soldiers fighting over there, that is, not to put too fine a point on it, A STEAMING CROCK OF HATE-MONGERING SHIT.

You also, in your missive, speak of watching "Fahrenheit 9/11." I hope you're aware that that movie uses all the same propaganda techniques as used by the great Fascist and Stalinist film producers such as Goebbels and Eisenstein. Indeed, I must tell you that after I finally watched that film, my hands were literally shaking. Not because of my great love and devotion to Bush (which I'm sure the left-wing stereotypers would love to believe) but because I had not seen such concentrated hatred and dishonest propaganda put to film in my lifetime. By comparison, Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will seemed tame. (Yes, yes, parts of it were funny. Leni Riefenstahl had funny bits in her movies too. So what?)

None of this is because I don't think for myself and question authority, John. None of it's because I just want to obey and faithfully believe whatever Bush tells me. It's because I do think for myself and I question "authorities" who distribute disingenuous hate-propaganda, making themselves hundreds of millions of dollars throwing raw meat to rage-filled leftists, telling them what they want to hear regardless of whether there's any real honesty behind it. I also question university professors, Hollywood celebrities, and opportunistic politicians who want to tell me that "Bush lied" simply because it will help them win an election.

Calling someone a liar when you know that maybe he was just wrong is a form of lie too, by the way.

Oh, and, while this may seem rude, I question the authority of countercultural icons who seem to want to relive the Vietnam era.

May I suggest to you that after you watch Fahrenheit 9/11 that, in your quest to try to understand the other side a little better, you also pick up Fahrenhype 9/11 or Celsius 41.11 or Michael Moore Hates America? And consider the remote possibility (unbelievable as it may seem) that those who made these films are not merely obedient conservatives who just want to support the President?

Hell, can I suggest that you just look at the previews?

I'll be honest to you: if you cannot look at a movie like Michael Moore's and see that it is propaganda designed to do nothing but tell rage-filled leftists what they want to hear, then it's probably impossible for people like you and I to even have a real conversation, and we'll have to just go on treating each other like aliens.

Don't think I haven't tried reaching out to folks like you, John. I've tried many times, and gotten my hand bitten more than once in response.

I voted for Bush. I'm not just glad of it, I'm proud of it. Not because I think he's a God. Not because I think it's wrong to question him. Not because I think you have to agree with him. But because I thought the Iraq liberation was the right thing to do for America, for the Iraqi people, and for the world as a whole.

(Well I also think his policies on school choice and Social Security reform are positive and progressive and will do more to help the poor in this country than anything Democrats have proposed in the last 35 years. But that's another debate. The war was my real issue, as it was yours.)

Now I must tell you that, because I have taken my stance on the Iraq war, I was forced on this weblog to eventually require people to register before they could leave comments. Why? Because I got tired of being called a Nazi, a "Bush apologist," a right-wing extremist, a brown shirt, a fascist, a sellout, and a liar on a daily basis by those "open-minded" and "thoughtful" leftists who are apparently still part of your tribe. My family has received death threats from angry leftists. I realized at some point that I could either take down the weblog completely, or I could start tossing out people who thought they had a right to abuse me and my family just because they didn't like my opinions.

In other words, I've experienced firsthand just how hateful, intolerant, and irrational you guys can be when someone dares to question your beliefs. You guys often come off exactly like the theocratic mullahs and the lock-step fascists you claim to hate (but which you, oddly enough, don't seem willing to use American power to try to overthrow).

Of all the people I know who support this war, most of us have conversations like this with each other all the time:

"Why are the anti-war people so vicious and nasty?"

"Why are the anti-war people so irrational and hateful and smug?"

"How do we get through to them? They just won't listen!"

"Don't you get tired of being called a liar and a fascist? I sure do."

It reached a point for a lot of us that on election day, we were doing more than just saying "We want to re-elect George Bush." When we pulled that lever for Bush, we were also just plain saying "FUCK YOU!"

Well Mr. Barlow, you said you wanted to try to understand. You spent a lot of time in your missive confessing to your anger and your hatred. Well now I'm telling you: Yup, a whole lot of us saw that. We saw it real well, and heard it loud and clear. We aren't stupid you know. You guys treated not just the President but all of us who agreed with his decisions with absolute contempt, and when we tried to call you out on it you just got nastier.

Meanwhile we were, many of us, talking to the boys and girls doing their work over there in Iraq. While some had their doubts, most were proud of the war effort and cared about the Iraqi people and made friends with them. (You do know that Bush got more than 70% of the vote from the National Guadsmen who are supposedly trapped in Bush's "back door draft," don't you? And that most of the soldiers interviewed in Michael Moore's movie hate his guts for the way he twisted their words and quoted them out of context? Did you know about the families of the fallen that he abused and betrayed just to tell his twisted story?)

Hellfire, a year and a half ago I played a role in helping to found an organization to ship toys and medical supplies for soldiers to distribute to kids over in Iraq. (You can donate to it right here by the way). Do you know how many lefties we were able to get to help us with that? Almost none. You guys were too busy shrieking about the evil BushCo-McRove Machine to actually do something to help those soldiers and those Iraqis you guys claim to care so much about.

That, to a lot of us, is the greatest irony you know. All the war supporters I know--all of them--read and listen to the anti-Bush and anti-war invective. We're most bemused when we hear your plaintive wails that we are closed-minded and fearful and zombified and that if only you'd try harder and be more passionate maybe we'd finally understand you. Meantime we're listening and we're watching and we're reading and we're thinking, "Yeah we understand you perfectly. We just think you're wrong. Why aren't you listening to what we're saying?"

And now, apparently, you sit around thinking, "Well we need those old-fashioned conservative respect-authority types in this country too I guess." Hey John? Fuck you. I'm not about obeying authority. I'm not about being captain of the football team--I don't even LIKE football, and I never dated any goddamned cheerleaders. I hated those people as a kid. I was too busy experimenting with drugs, reading books, noodling in the aisles at Grateful Dead concerts, and trying to get laid.

I voted for Bush because the war in Iraq was exactly the right war, for exactly the right reasons, at exactly the right time. Not because I think you're supposed to believe whatever Bush says, but because I independently concluded, like a whole lot of other people, that it was the right thing to do, and that NOT doing it would be a crime against humanity. And that America and the rest of the world would be safer if we did it.

And I still think all that.

Do you disagree? Okay. That's fine. That's your right as a human being. But you guys did more than disagree. A lot of you were just plain assholes about it. You could have talked to us but instead you wanted to tell us that Chimpy McSmirk was the new Hitler and a big fat liar just because you didn't agree with him. It offended the shit out of us, because we did agree with him and we didn't think he lied (and most of us still don't). We saw a good, decent, moderate man in Bush who decided to take a big gamble and do the right thing for both America and Iraq and finally, finally, finally bring down the monster Saddam. Which would have been done a long damned time ago if we'd had any decency as a country.

You don't agree. Fine. You don't have to. But don't think that acting like an asshole about it gets you my vote. You guys may have whipped a bunch of dumbass kids into a rage by feeding them Michael Moore style hate-propaganda, but you equally pissed off a bunch of other folks in the process who showed up to vote just to spite you guys for being such mean-spirited, reactionary, paint-by-numbers, bigoted, closed-minded jerks.

Sorry man, but it's exactly what you looked like from here. We saw your disappointment when good economic news came out and your almost desperate desire to deny it. It was written on so many of your faces. We saw your irritation when good news came out of Iraq. It was obvious in your tone and your attitude about it. We aren't stupid you know. You wanted America to fail just so you could take down Shrubbie McHitler the Dumbass Death Merchant.

But by the way, did you have to back a candidate who couldn't decide from one day to the next what exactly he thought on any subject--except that he wouldn't do anything that Bush did? (In other words, a reactionary?)

In fact Mr. Barlow, for a guy who's so hip to cyberspace, you seem astonishingly unaware of everyday, ordinary people like her or him or him or her or her or her or them or her or her or her or her or her or them or him or her or her or him or countless other powerful and interesting voices I know out here in cyberspace. Not an authoritarian in the bunch. Just people who don't agree with you, and who supported the liberation of Iraq and most of Bush's war policies. Most of 'em women, come to think of it, some of 'em queer, and a couple of whom actually served in that war in Iraq you seem to think is so evil and murderous. I could point you to countless more voices just like them.

I don't know. Maybe you guys on the left need the stereotyping and the rage in order to motivate people to the polls. But from where folks like me stand, it's your ideas that need to be questioned, and it's you guys who have been on the wrong side of human rights and progress these last couple of years. It's you guys who are the reactionaries.

That's what people like me have come to think, anyway. It's what a whole lot of people I know think. Because otherwise, a whole lot of us are puzzled as to why we can't seem to get through to you. Some of us just plain gave up, and now just figure we have to work around you because you won't listen anyway. We tried, we failed, so we just (no pun intended) moved on.

So. You say you want to understand us. I appreciate that, and honestly, that's as plain a picture as I can paint for you. Did I miss something? Is there something important I should understand that I'm not getting? Is there something in your arguments or beliefs that I'm just not seeing? Because I feel like I get you guys and your arguments just fine, that I've spent two and a half years researching your arguments and trying to tell you why I think you're horribly mistaken, but that it's you all who won't listen.

So is there any real hope here? I'd like to think there is but I just don't know.

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